30 cities challenge #11: The one you would to visit with a loved one

You have to see (or go back to) this place with your other half, your partner or significant other who is already in your life or will eventually arrive.

Again, most people will wonder about my decision, but you’ll see:

TBILISI, GEORGIA

In the past years, I have been very intrigued with Tbilisi. After all the events there, Georgia has become more open to the world and wanting to show their interesting culture. I once tried Georgian food and I must say I am determined to visit that country. Their food was tasty, savoury, spicy and such. Then, I started following blogs or travel posts on Georgia and I became even more interested because of their architecture and the relation with their native culture (Georgian music is really beautiful). I would love that my other half shares my passion for understanding and immersing into other cultures, specially least popular ones and share beautiful experiences (culinary experiences, for example) and landscapes.

Someday, someday... (source: Wikimedia)
Someday, someday… (source: Wikimedia)
I really want to try everything at this table! (source: GeorgiaAbout.com)
I really want to try everything at this table! (source: GeorgiaAbout.com)

30 cities challenge #10: The one you had an unforgettable experience

You do not care if you liked this city or not, but you will never forget it because something happened.

GDAŃSK, POLAND

Now, you will wonder why I chose it. Easy… I visited a beautiful city, rich in history (the shipyards, the Solidarity movement and many Interwar or WWII places) in the perfect instance to visit it (summer was about to end, so the weather was really suitable to do sightseeing) and, of course, I had great company with Asia and her family who kindly hosted me during my stay there. Plus, the best part was getting to ride a Ferris Wheel! I had only done it once, when I was younger, and the ferris wheel itself was quite small. But this one had a great view to Motlawa river and the area. Honestly, I still think about that time every day as I managed to learn a lot about Polish culture in different ways (food, drinks, films, music, architecture, et al.)

Next to the Motlawa river :)
Next to the Motlawa river 🙂

30 cities challenge #9: The one you would like to seen on a TV series

All TV series tend to happen in New York, Los Angeles, Santiago, Buenos Aires, London, et al. This is a place you haven’t seen portrayed, but you would love to watch a show based in that place.

I had a hard time thinking about it, but I am going for

OOSTENDE, BELGIUM

Now, what is so special about it? It’s a resort town in Belgium which weather isn’t what you’d think of one. It is quite cold and cloudy over there, but it could be a great place to set a show on because of being a resort town. However, it would have to be one of those really strong dramas (somewhat telenovelesque, but without being extremely cheesy, tacky or anything like that: just the right amount of suspense, romance and some comedy relief as I expect the series to be quite intense). Probably, it would be a good idea to set it around a certain crime and how there is a powerful family trying to cover things up. Somewhat like a mix of Wallander and What is Fatmagül’s fault? would be a perfect choice for a series set in Oostende. Besides that, there are nice bars, cafés and restaurants.

So Belgian TV, what are you waiting for? (I’d expect royalties though)

30 cities challenge #8: The one you can survive 5 days with 25€ or less

You are stuck in this city with barely 25€ in your pockets and a non-reimbursable return ticket in 5 days. Maybe if you were in that place, it wouldn’t be that bad.

Is that even possible?
First of all, I would need a place in which I could walk everywhere, then finding a place to stay (I would have to use Couchsurfing) near almost everything, with many free activities, so that my only expenses would be food. So, my choice is:

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

I have yet to visit it, but as a Historian, it’ll be quite interesting to visit it due to its recent history. According to this site, my budget wouldn’t suffer with it. Plus, food seems quite nice (Balkan and Mediterranean food is always bound to be tasty), so what else can I do? Maybe it is time to start saving money and visit it as soon as I can.

Cannot wait to visit it! (Source BBC.co.uk)

30 cities challenge #7: The one that let you down

You really wanted to see that place, but once you were there, you found out that you did not like it.

This one was rather a no-brainer:

BRUSSELS – BRUXELLES – BRUSSEL

Sure, it is probably the capital of Europe right now, but there is not much to see and a major letdown. I expected to see a lot of urban art (due to the comic book themed walls all over the city) and be friendlier (after the excellent experiences in other Belgian cities), but people were not quite friendly, to say the least. The city itself was rather dirty and not well kept, being the only “clean place”, the Grand Place. It was really hard to look for a good place to eat. Yet, what shocked me the most was seeing fights at the metro stations. On a Saturday afternoon. At least, I was safe, but I found it awkward to see a bunch of people fighting and not seeing a guard or policeman trying to stop the fight. And if you ever thought the King’s residence was going to be luxurious and such, it’s not.

Even Van Gogh photobombed my photo of the Tintin wall in Brussels 🙁

30 cities challenge #6: The one that is overrated

Many people love or dream visiting this place, but honestly, it is not quite special for you.

WASHINGTON, DC

Sure, DC has great and free museums and lots of architectural landmarks, but that city/area lacks a lot of things which has made found it overrated.

ACTUAL photo taken outside the US Capitol in a winter day.

First of all, no decent public transportations. Sure, the DC Metro is rather quiet, clean and good as long as you live close to it. Out of that area, it’s all about driving a car to get to one place to another. I still remember the bus that stopped near my house only passed through from 6 to 8am and then, to 3 to 5pm. No chance about going out in the town for drinks without worrying about going back home safe (taxis only exist in some areas and drinking and driving is always a no-no, kids!). The weather in summer is AWFUL. Temperatures over +40ºC in summer, high humidity and bugs make you overly dependent on Air Conditioning (which is almost a right in the US, but if there’s a power cut… you are screwed! 🙁 ) or wanting to move anywhere up from New York. Those little things make a city even better (Santiago may have horrible weather in summer, but at least metro/buses/taxis can get you anywhere at any hour… and there are always small shops within walking distance). Despite I met great people there, I wouldn’t choose to live there again, or if I were to visit it, it’d be only for a small pit stop to meet people I care about and then leave.

30 cities challenge #5: The one that turned out to be a nice surprise

You did not expect much out of this place, but you loved it.

That city should be, by far:

GENT, BELGIUM

Truth to be told, I didn’t know what Gent was until a few years ago. My friend moved there for a while and she invited me to stay at her home and use it as my base of operations in Belgium. After a long journey, I arrived there and I was amazed by the environment of that city. It is truly a student city. Many young people live there and you can see the trains full of youngsters during the weekend with suitcases or backpacks. The only problem with the city was taking a tram to go downtown, but even with that, it is still an amazing town, with beautiful architecture (the Starbucks at the train station there is beautiful!) and charming people (not to mention beer! food! neuzen!). I still remember getting myself lost in the town and finding a comic book store out of nowhere and then chatting with the owner.

Gent at night!

30 cities challenge #4: The one you did not have enough time to see properly

You spent so little time in that place and you got hooked on it. The very few you saw tells you, you have to go back.

I had a hard time thinking about this one, but…

HAVANA / LA HABANA, CUBA

Many people who know me well know that I have really low tolerance to hot weather and it annoys me to feel uncomfortable in a place with such temperatures. However, Havana cautivated me a lot. Sure, people may criticise it for a lot of things, but… buildings have lovely façades, not to mention the different parks, monuments and such. There is still so much to see there! Not to mention, that I have yet to try proper Cuban food. I highly doubt I will come back in the near future, but I would love to go there later in life. Plus, it is one of those places you often read or hear a lot on the media, but I would dare to say most of those opinions are highly biased. It is a place you have to see for yourself!

¡Ya regresaré!
¡Ya regresaré!

30 cities challenge #3: The one you wanted to visit, but you haven’t had the time to do so

You already have made plans to visit that place, but you have never done it.

Istanbul.

As far as I know, I am the only member of my family who still hasn’t been in Istanbul. Sure, thanks to Turkish series it became a popular destination among Chilean tourists, but the only time I could have visited it (without worrying about money and such), I just started my current job and I would have to wait a full year for holidays.

Anyways, why Istanbul? Food, culture and contrasts. Sure, I expect it to be quite noisey and that does not stop, but exactly, that is why I cannot wait to visit Istanbul. Plus, Turkish language and music are wonderful, so having a chance to practice and being exposed constantly to it is always a different and new experience. And food… there are too many delicious things to list. It is a city that I would like to see in EVERY season.

Can’t wait to visit Istanbul! (source: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/winter-in-istanbul )

30 cities challenge #2: The one you would like to live in

Despite you may not dream with it, you know that in that city, town, village or geographical place is the one you would like to live in, whether for its people, climate, landscape or lifestyle.

By far (and that should not come as a surprise to those who know me)

KRAKÓW

Now, why Kraków?

French language has a beautiful word to describe “a romantic crush”, coup de cœur. More or less, that happened to me before going to Kraków. I knew beforehand that I was going to love that city despite I had previously never been to it. Sure, the pace of the city is much slower than I am used to it in Santiago, but… there is so much to love about Kraków. Beautiful old buildings everywhere (in different states of condition, that is 😉 ), sitting down Planty park and simple people-watch, the parks next to the Vistula, the neighbourhoods and its differences and of course… (I feel so bad about saying it as I wasn’t born or brought up in Kraków), my neighbourhood of Kazimierz, the old Jewish part of the city. Tons of interesting bars, places to eat, old buildings and cultural places… not to mention Urban art. This graffiti always cheered me up and made me feel happy, blessed and thanked to have the chance of being in Kraków:

Yeah, I get like that over there.
Yeah, I get like that over there.

Not to mention that several friends and acquaintances live over there, so I am bound to always have a good time in Kraków.
I must say that no city is 100% perfect, but with all of its details and imperfections, I love Kraków and if I ever have the chance to settle down there, I would do it without hesitating.